Georgia, Florida team up to warn football fans of drinking and driving consequences

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ATLANTA — Fans at the football game dubbed the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party will get an unusual reminder about the consequences of drinking and driving this year.

A chance conversation at a national convention led the heads of the Florida and Georgia highway-safety agencies to agree on taping a joint message warning fans at the Oct. 29 game between the University of Georgia and the University of Florida.

Harris Blackwood, the director in Georgia of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety made the suggestion to Julie Jones, the executive director of Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles. It seemed like a natural fit, Blackwood said.

“The great thing about it is we both understand there is a problem with the number of people driving and driving at events like this,” he said. “We have as many problems with people on our side of the line as they do.”

Blackwood, a former reporter who served as Nathan Deal’s press secretary during last year’s gubernatorial campaign, drew on his contacts to convince First Coast News to lend its facilities across the street from the stadium. The company also agreed to produce the 15-second video for free and air it on its stations, too.

Florida officials have done similar videos at college games, but never one jointly with the home state of another football team, said Capt. Mark Brown, of the Florida Highway Patrol.

“We thought it was a great idea to be played at that game since there are so many people there,” he said.

The message was simple, delivered by Florida Trooper Philip Delgado and Georgia State Patrol Sgt. David Herring, who is now on Deal’s security team and used to provide security for Georgia coach Mark Richt.

The troopers joke about their allegiances to the Gators and Bulldogs and then add, “When it comes to drinking and driving, we’re on the same team.”

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hope7 10/07/11 - 08:50 pm
'Bout time this issue gets

'Bout time this issue gets addressed and folks receive serious consequences for their deadly irresponsible actions. We stopped attending these events due to this behavior.

shrimp for breakfast
shrimp for breakfast 10/07/11 - 11:45 pm
If people are stupid enough

If people are stupid enough to drink and drive in this day and age then what makes you think a 15 second video clip is going to deter them?
I mean it's a good idea and all but it's just a way to say you've been warned.
You could have God himself do the video and the really stupid ones are still going to drink and drive.
I don't know what the answer is except to give every driver leaving the parking lot a breathalizer test.

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